Literary Corner

The Literary Corner highlights a strong Irish literary tradition going back more than 1,000 years, and celebrates the work of contemporary Minnesota writers with Irish roots and connections. Fairgoers can enjoy short readings and presentations from a talented lineup of writers representing poetry, fiction, mystery, historical fiction, fantasy, memoir, and cultural history. Participating authors will also have work available for purchase and signing.


The Literary Corner is sponsored by Normandale Community College.


Gary Bruggemann

Gary Bruggemann teaches history at Century and Inver Hills Community Colleges. A lifelong resident of Saint Paul, he has spent the last 35 years researching, writing and teaching Minnesota history. He is the author of numerous works on Saint Paul history, including at least 40 newspaper and magazine articles. In 2012 Gary published Minnesota's Oldest Murder Mystery: The Case Of Edward Phalen, St. Paul's Unsaintly Pioneer, selected as a Midwest Book Awards finalist.

John Dingley

John Dingley grew up on a hill farm in Mid-Wales and now lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. He has been called a renaissance man who has shown a variety of notable talents. John is an animal scientist and his love of nature has involved him in a major role for wildlife reintroduction—he sits on the board of directors for the Raptor Resource Project and the Decorah Eagle Cam. He is also a master glass cutter and engraver as well as being an accomplished stonemason. John’s love of theater has led to performances in a variety of roles, both in Wales and around the Midwest. A noted storyteller and singer, he can occasionally be discovered performing his one-man show, “John Dingley and the Biggest Pack of Lies You Ever Heard.” John also takes a major interest in urban agriculture, sustainable agriculture, and permaculture and has spent time teaching urban young people about the efficient use of gardening and agricultural hand tools. His nonfiction book, Hard Work in Paradise: When All Our Food and Lives Were Organic, will be published soon. The Timeless Cavern: Marged Evans and The Pebbles of Time is John’s first novel, and he is currently working on the second and third books in the series: Marged Evans and the Pebbles of More Time and Marged Evans and the Pebbles of Distance. For more visit

Tracie Loeffler Donaghy

In 2001, Tracie Loeffler Donaghy went on a vacation to Ireland and came home married to an Irishman. Her memoir, An American in Belfast, is a personal journey into a darker side of Ireland, one of paramilitaries, bomb scares, and sectarian violence. She has been a guest speaker on local radio and at various literary events, reading from her memoir and discussing her experiences of life in Northern Ireland. Tracie also regularly organizes and hosts Irish pub-style literary readings in the Twin Cities, featuring writers and poets from the local Irish community. She teaches writing and has a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Hamline University.

Nora Murphy

Nora Murphy is a fifth generation Irish-American Minnesotan whose great-grandfather cut and laid granite for the Saint Paul Cathedral. Author of essays, poems, and nonfiction books, Nora fell in love with Saint Brigid in the Cathedral’s shrine of nations and pays tribute to the great saint in her memoir, Knitting The Threads Of Time: Casting Back To The Heart Of Our Craft.

Patrick O’Donnell

Originally from Dublin, Patrick O’Donnell is a college teacher, theater director, literary historian, and author. He teaches writing and literature (with a focus on Shakespeare and James Joyce) at Normandale Community College. He has been the Artistic Director of Cracked Lookingglass Theatre, Titanic Players, and the Celtic Players. He has written such plays as Vampire Moonshine, I’m Switzerland, Dickens in Dublin, and has created a stage adaptation of Joyce’s novel, Ulysses. Patrick’s focus at present is creative nonfiction with an emphasis on the career of Sir Tyrone Guthrie. He has published work in the Irish scholarly journal New Hibernia Review, The St. Paul Almanac, the online newspaper The Daily Planet, and The Irish Gazette, and has contributed an essay on the Guthrie’s Theater’s Irish roots to Polly Grose’s anthology The Guthrie Theater: The First Fifty Years. Patrick also writes short fiction based on Dublin city and its imagined alternative ancient histories. He is married and lives in Saint Paul with his wife and three children.

Thomas Kevin O'Rourke

Thomas Kevin O'Rourke has worked as a laborer, barge worker, wharf night-watchman, self- employed carpenter, stone mason, bootmaker, dishwasher, cook, cowboy, arborist, Outward Bound instructor, and drove big-rigs over the road. 

TKO performed spoken word folk tales of the Mississippi River for the Rockefeller Folk Arts Exhibition, 1987, and for the KSTP Christmas special, Tales of Minnesota. He won the Scottish International  Open Poetry Competition twice, received the Jack Kerouac Award, was crowned ‘River King’ for winning a storytelling slam on the Mississippi River, and won the Outermost Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in POETRY IRELAND REVIEW, BLUE COLLAR REVIEW, and other literary magazines.

His fourteen volumes self-published of chapbooks are part of the Givens Rare Book Collection at the Anderson Library at the University of Minnesota. 

Haley Lasche

Haley Lasché is a Minnesota poet whose poems have appeared and are forthcoming in literary magazines, anthologies and websites such as Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books, Hartskill Review and Dossier Journal. She is a RYT-200 certified yoga teacher and a college writing instructor. She has her MFA from Hamline University.  In addition, her blog, Breath and Sun Yoga, interprets ancient yogic wisdom through the lens of modern life. Learn more at here.

Tim Nolan

Tim Nolan was born in Minneapolis, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in English, and from Columbia University in New York City with an M.F.A. in writing.  He is an attorney in private practice in Minneapolis, where he lives with his wife and their three children.   His poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and on The Writer’s Almanac and American Life in Poetry.  His two collections—The Sound of It and And Then were both published by New Rivers Press.  His poem “Red Wing Correctional Facility,” was short-listed for the 2014 Forward Poetry Prize. Learn more at

Brenna Briggs

Brenna Briggs is the Pittsburgh-born author of the internationally acclaimed Liffey Rivers Irish Dancer Mysteries. "Think Irish Dancing Meets Nancy Drew" says Irish Central NYC. According to The Irish World in London: "You might compare Briggs' books to Enid Blyton's adventure stories, if you throw in a lot more reels and hornpipes. Each one is a delightful read for dancers, lovers of Ireland and lovers of a good mystery, and a great way for kids to learn a bit more about their Irish culture." Brenna penned the first three Liffey Rivers books while she lived in County Sligo from 2004 through 2009. She now resides in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, where she is writing her 8th Liffey Rivers mystery: The Mystery of the Whispering Trees. Briggs' first book, The Mystery of the Sparkling Solo Dress Crown, has been a No. 1 Bestseller on Amazon in the popular teen dance fiction category.